Discussion Essays

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Prof. Bridge, Washington Irving & The Waits


The music of the Waits - rude as may be their minstrelsy - breaks upon the mid-watches of the night with the effect of perfect harmony.

Washington Irving

as given by Bridge at the opening of Town waits and their tunes

Proc. Br. Mus. Assoc., Feb. 21, 1928.


Even the sound of the music of the Waits, rude as may be their minstrelsy, breaks upon the mid-watches of a winter night with the effect of perfect harmony. As I have been awakened by them in that still and solemn hour, "when deep sleep falleth upon man", I have listened with hushed delight, and, connecting them with the sacred and joyous occasion, have almost fancied them to another celestial choir, announcing peace and good-will to mankind.

Washington Irving (New York) 1783-1859

The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon Gentn. (1848)

Morrell library MB48.2

Bridge evidently manipulated Irving's text so that he could set the scene for his lecture on the original waits. Irving was writing after their abolition (1836) and, reading between the lines of his last statement, they were singers, i.e. The Christmas Waits. Naughty Bridge!

James Merryweather, 5 March 2002.